Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Dutiful BBC holds its fire on Harry Wales

Here's what passes for a 'balanced' BBC headline' and 'challenging interview' when it comes to royal-gazing and British killing in Afghanistan:

Prince Harry in Afghanistan: I fired at enemy
"The prince, whose four-month deployment to the country has just ended, spoke about his role as an Apache co-pilot gunner, and whether he had killed.
"Yeah, so lots of people have. The squadron's been out here. Everyone's fired a certain amount," he said. "If there's people trying to do bad stuff to our guys, then we'll take them out of the game."
Prince Harry left Afghanistan on Monday. News teams were allowed to interview him during his deployment, if they agreed to delay broadcast until he had left the country."
As is cringingly evident here, the BBC need little guiding on establishment protocols or what's expected of their 'probing reporters'.

Another key section of the piece reads:
"On his role in Afghanistan, one journalist said: "You are the man with the trigger in your hand, and if called upon, you will fire, and presumably you have and you will kill the enemy?"

The prince responded: "Yeah, so lots of people have. The squadron's been out here. Everyone's fired a certain amount. Probably a little bit more than this time last year, to a certain extent, but that's just the way that its balanced out. Mainly due to weather, well whatever the reasons, I don't know.""
Amid such ramblings, Harry Wales also declares:
"We fire when we have to, take a life to save a life".
We can safely assume the deeply facile, pernicious and misguided views of a young man long indoctrinated by his royal-militarist upbringing and faux belief in imperialist humanity.

But is there one iota of critical integrity that would cause a BBC journalist to question and examine these crude, inhuman assertions? As in: how do you determine which life is the more important? What of suffering Afghans? Do you really understand what you're doing in another people's country?

Elementary questions, really, for anyone interested in the main issues of mass killing, foreign occupation and the pain of warfare rather than the cute fiction of Harry getting treated like an ordinary soldiering bloke.

But this is the BBC. And images must be maintained, questions dutifully controlled, the occupied safely ignored. The reporting rationale could almost be: 'We fawn because we have to, praise a life to erase a life.'

And, of course, not one single counter-balancing opinion here - say, from the anti-war movement - on the war-proud prince's ''take them out" killings or his country's dark part in this disastrous war.

In the adjoining 'Analysis' box, Peter Hunt, BBC royal correspondent, concludes:
"At 28, Harry is determined to be an army officer; a royal; and someone who works hard and plays hard."
Embarrassingly, they call themselves 'journalists'.

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